related: events, ost
slideshare: engaging events (41,000+ views), OST (7,000+ views)
editing: http://planeta.com/unconference

Unconference = A facilitated, participant-driven event centered on a specific topic. This can be conducted face-to-face, online or better yet, both!

An unconference engages participants without a formal agenda. Instead an unconference encourages attendees to organize their own agenda and action plans.

We use the unconference approach for Planeta.com's tentpole events, Responsible Travel Week and Indigenous Peoples Week. There's some structure, but the content, the substance of the dialogue is generated by the participants themselves.

We purposefully use the 'unconference' approach to open the dialogue to the public rather than selecting a few experts beforehand and have the crowd listen. Locals and visitors want to be more engaged and this style of information sharing helps us all become future fit.

While some people would prefer more structure one of the advantages of giving up control is demonstrating the power people have in terms of articulating questions, creating their own presentations and videos, learning from others and being generous enough to share, like and praise the work of others.

Conferences and Unconferences

Too often traditional conferences are overly scripted without opportunities to engage one another. Participants tend to read at one another. Meetings are held behind closed doors without access for anyone but those invited. Time - and particularly face time - is too valuable to waste in such a manner.

Successful unconferences have a facilitator or facilitators who make everything look easy. It's not as easy as it looks. Such events can get hijacked by people who just want to complicate matters. This is not a free-for-all. Think Open Space Technology, the pioneering methodology for getting people together over a series of questions to develop their own agenda for discussion and action.

Lessons learned: the unconference approach works best where there is face-to-face interaction. Online conferencing has many merits but the lack of physical interaction hampers engagement. It's easy to like or share information, but collaborative efforts are tricky to develop.

Translating Unconference

German: Unkonferenz

Dos and Donts

What are the dos and donts for participants in an online conference?
Budget Time
Whine about the lack of time
Challenge yourself
Play it safe (and get bored)
Work in a silo
Create a presentation, slideshow, video playlist
Wish you had the opportunity to make a presentation



The sum of the expertise of the people in the audience is greater than the sum of expertise of the people on stage.
- Fundamental Law of Conventional Conferences, coined by Dave Winer, What is an unconference?

Once you’re in you’re spoiled. I’ve heard it said many times, by people who had a real unconference experience, that they can never sit in a dark room, with their hands folded, waiting for the Q&A period, listening to a PowerPoint presenter drone on and on, while the heads bob up and down and a dull roar of enthusiastic discussion can be heard in the distance, in the hallway.
- Dave Winer, What is an unconference?


Responsible Tourism Week: An Unconference - Cynthia Ord
What is an unconference?

Google+ Events

Other examples

Recent Changes (Canberra, Boston)
Talk about local (Cardiff, Wales)
Swiss Translation Unconference
ScienceOnline2012 – the Unconference, the Community - Scientific American
http://nzcommons.org.nz/project/makes-successful-hackday -



Haz Favorito: Come Hungry to the 2011 Responsible Tourism Fair (Oaxaca)

Misc Questions
Wondering what specific activities you have done as part of your unconference?
What have you seen work really well to increase engagement and innovation?
Anything you would steer away from?